Melissa Etheridge is an American guitarist and vocalist who needs little introduction. However, you may not be as familiar with her signature acoustic, made by the innovative American brand Ovation. The Melissa Etheridge Signature 2078ME-6P, like its namesake, is a serious performer, with huge playability, bold style and incredible sound – one of the reasons it has featured in our chart of the best acoustics under $1,500. Let’s take a closer look.
We mentioned a bold look – we weren’t lying! Designed in collaboration with Melissa herself, this guitar sports plenty of personal touches from the singer, including the crisp white top and equally eye-catching white pearloid soundhole epaulets. The top is made from AA solid spruce and features quartersawn Scalloped X bracing, which sits on a shallow Lyrachord composite bowl, as is the case with all Ovation guitars.
The body is light and well-contoured, and sits next to your own body naturally, leading to a very comfortable playing experience. A word on the craftsmanship – it’s excellent, as you’d expect at this high-end price.
There’s a slight cutaway in the body, offering players easy access to all 22 frets on the treble side (these frets end at 17 on the bass side). The neck itself is very sturdy and fast-playing, made with a 5-piece mahogany/maple laminate, topped with a dark rosewood fretboard. Finally, it also features Melissa’s signature inlay at the 12th fret, in case you needed reminding who inspired this lovely instrument.
Ovation are known for their excellent electronics, and the Melissa Etheridge Signature shows off their OP-Pro preamp, fitted with an OCP-1K pickup. The preamp features a volume control and 3-band EQ sliders, with an added advanced ‘Expressor’ slider for compression and drive control. This versatile system has an equally flexible output, with XLR and ¼” connections for plugging into either an amp or PA system.
The electronics are impressive enough, and this continues into the rest of the hardware, with quality die-cast sealed tuners with white tuning keys (naturally!), an ABS nut and saddle, a rosewood bridge, and a set of light Adamas 1818E strings. Of course, as we usually expect at under $1,500, it comes shipped in a very good protective hard-shell case.
While playing this guitar may not turn you into Melissa Etheridge, it will give you the opportunity to sound as good as her. The guitar is very bright, tight and vibrant, with a big projection thanks to the bowl and bracing. Plugged in, this signature model also impresses, with a rich and dynamic projection through an amp, with the versatile preamp making stage performances low hassle.
You don’t have to be a diehard fan of Melissa Etheridge to see the appeal of this beautiful guitar – it stands shoulder to shoulder with many others in this high-end price range. Of course, not everyone will be a fan of the gleaming white color scheme or the use of plastic in the body, but the comfort, tone, playability and pro-grade electronics make it a sensible choice for many performing guitarists.